...or have they done so already with their advice to motorists about what to do if their accelerator pedal sticks after they have removed their foot from it.
Disclaimer Break: THE FOLLOWING, AT LEAST WITH REGARD TO ANY ADVICE I GIVE, IS BASED UPON MY OPINION ALONE. IF YOU TAKE, USE, PASS ON ANY ADVICE I GIVE, YOU AGREE TO HOLD ME HARMLESS AND TO INDEMNIFY ME.
Toyota essentially tells you, among other things, that the very first thing you should do is to reach down to pull back the floor mat because it may be depressing the pedal causing the car to accelerate, then pull over and stop the vehicle. (1) Of course they also give other advice such as applying the brakes steadily or applying the brakes steadily and either shutting off the car or putting the key into the accessory position (you sure do not want to lock your steering if you have the type car in which the steering wheel locks in place once the car is shut off), or applying the brakes and placing the car into neutral.
Of course their advice is based on the fact that they are recalling 3.8 million vehicles to replace floor mats or otherwise fix a problem whereby the accelerator can get stuck due to a floor mat sliding forward. The advice they give, is in my opinion, bad advice. The first thing you should do to control your car is to step on the brake and at the same time place the car into neutral. Why do I say this? I say so because if the accelerator is stuck due to a mechanical problem other than anything to do with a floor mat then bending over to pull the floor mat back wastes precious time and allows the car to continue to accelerate. Therefore the first thing you would want to do is to cease accelerating no matter what could be the cause. Placing the car in neutral while applying the brakes will cause a vehicle with a stuck accelerator to cease accelerating and to stop if the brakes and shifter are working properly. Even if the floor mat is the cause and may also be preventing the brake pedal from being depressed fully, by putting the car into neutral you make the prevent the car from causing itself to accelerate. Once that is done you can check to pull the floor mat back or the gas pedal up or clear the brake pedal. When doing so, do it by feel if possible so you can keep your eyes on the road.
Last month, a family of 4 was killed in California due to a floor mat pressing down their accelerator or so are the findings of the accident investigators as reported on by several news outlets. One of the 4 people in the car was a California Highway Patrol Officer. For some reason it seems he did not think of either shutting off the car or putting the car into neutral at least until too late if they did it at all. Heck that is something I learned in my first government defensive driving course given in my academy training. Why the CHP did not teach this officer likewise, if such is the case, is a mystery to me. I am not blaming anyone, just pointing out that I would have thought a police officer would have known how to deal with the situation, in fact I guess I would have thought everyone would have known how to deal with it. The car was going over 100 mph when it collided with another vehicle in an intersection. One of the 4 people in the car called 911. One of the first things the 911 operator ask is if they can brake or shut off the vehicle. Even he did not ask if they had it in neutral. I asked my son and daughter today, what would you do if your accelerator stuck. My daughter's answer was to step on the brake. When I prodded her for more she had no clue. My son said he would shut the car off. When I asked him for more he said put on the brakes. Neither one thought of putting the car into neutral and applying the brakes. Now they know about that option. Folks it seems that such simple things as putting the car in neutral or turning it off (remembering you do not want to lock your steering wheel if you have that type of locking steering wheel) along with properly braking are things that people apparently do not realize are just the things that could save them in such a situation. Calling 911 maybe too late - you as the driver or passenger in a car need to know these things before you get going in a car again and you must be ready to take action as appropriate.
The second of the following two videos contain parts of the 911 call made from the out of control vehicle. You can hear more if you can find other copies - the call continues as the car speeds into the crash and actually crashes on some other copies. I figured if you want to hear that you can find it on your own.
All the best,
A Protest Likely to Backfire
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